It’s a party, but for some it’s also a family affair

By Paul Harris

Country Stampede does not seem like the perfect place to foster a mother-daughter relationship. The four-day festival is part concert and part party. But Tina White, daughter, and Leanna Scott, mother, have come for all 17 years of the country festival’s existence and have bonded along the way. Tina was two when Leanna first brought her, the price of a ticket being $50 for four days. Now, tickets are close to $150.

That’s not the only change the Camdenton, Mo., family has seeny. There were just 200 VIPs that first year, which put Scott and her daughter close up.

“We could almost touch the stage from where we were sitting,” Scott said.

When Scott and her daughter first came they stayed in a two-man tent. Now they’re in a pop-up camper.

The once two-year old will be heading off to Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo. Scott has two more daughters. She took one of them to Country Stampede when her daughter was just three months old.

“People did not think that was OK.”

That lifetime tradition has created a number of memories for Scott and White with Scott’s favorite coming during their first trip.

Country singer Tracy Lawrence was on the television giving an interview. Scott pointed out to her daughter that she was going to see Lawrence live soon.

Scott did not think anything of it at the time. She was just interacting with her child.

While they were in attendance at Stampede, a radio station was interviewing Lawrence. Scott had her back turned while she was holding White.

Recognizing him from television, White, who was wearing an adult-sized Tracy Lawrence t-shirt that Scott bought at Stampede, said, “Tracy Lawrence, Tracy Lawrence.”

After the interview, Lawrence came out and signed the t-shirt. 

A death in the family almost put the mother-daughter tradition in jeopardy.

“We drove up there after the funeral on Thursday and made it right before the concerts started,” Scott said.

The festival has taught the younger White a few lessons. She has been harassed by more than her fair share of drunken revelers and has seen the effect that too much alcohol can have on someone.

“I was like 13 and there was this dude who was 25 and he was hitting on me,” White said. “I was like dude just stop.”

It’s also helped White as a waitress. She does not get easily irritated at drunks.

White will turn 21 at the festival’s 20th year. It’s an anniversary that she is anticipating. Her mom hopes White uses the lessons from past Stampedes to not go crazy during that time.

“I think it has taught her that you can socialize with out being ‘that guy,’ Scott said. “I think it’s good for her to see the different realms.”

White pokes fun at the girls who get so drunk they pass out in the middle of the day.

Not drinking is not the only difference between this mother-daughter pair and many of the others in attendance.

Most Stampeders look forward to the headliners, but White is more interested in the smaller acts. She loves to watch the mid-day acts climb up the ranks of country music to one day become stars.

At a Country Stampede two years ago, White remembers taking a picture of Jason Aldean, who was riding around the campgrounds on an ATV. Soon after taking that photo Aldean was a mega-star of country music.

While she enjoys taking pictures of country musicians, she loves meeting them in person.

In 2005, White ran in to the Drew Davis Band while on a shopping trip at the Manhattan Wal-Mart. At the time, she had no idea the group of guys was set to take the stage at one of her favorite music festivals.

She emailed the guys after their performance. For her efforts, she received a signed copy of the band’s CD and the band and teenage girl exchanged letters . At last year’s show, she went backstage and met Brett Eldredge.

The pair’s love of Country Stampede has extended to Scott’s husband, who has attended the festival the last 12 years.

White has also brought along a number of friends, but the invitation does not come without a warning to the friend’s parents by White’s mom.

“I tell them I don’t know if you want your kid to be at this, but it’s like Woodstock for country people,” she said.

White tells her friends that there’s going to be hot guys, country music, and hot sun, which is an easy sell for most teenage girls.

Scott tells friends’ parents that there will not be any drinking at their campsite, nor will there be any of the other antics that are commonplace at the festival.

“Some of her friends get to come and some of them don’t,” Scott said.

Friends who have attended Stampede enjoyed their time, said White.

The family uses the time to explore Manhattan and has watched the city grow over nearly two decades.

“I like that Manhattan has become a bigger town and you can do more stuff than you used to be able to,” White said.

The trips have also made White a K-State fan. She and her step-dad are going to travel back to Manhattan this year for the University of Miami (Fla.) Kansas State football game. Her step-dad is a Miami fan.

Stampede has always been a big site for college football fans with people hailing from Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. The Scotts noticed that if Nebraska has a good football year then their fans tend to be louder and more obnoxious. After spending one Stampede by a group of Nebraska fans, the Scotts started to dislike the university’s football team.

They even started keeping track of the K-State Nebraska football rivalry, to see how loud Nebraska fans would be during Stampede.

Despite all of the memories and lessons learned, White isn’t sure whether, if she ever has a daughter of her own, she would bring her to Stampede.

I look at people and they have their kids here and I am like, ‘Why would you bring your child to this?’” said the daughter. “I grew up around it and I’m fine. It’s a good place that has become a tradition. I don’t know if I’ll bring my kids. That’s debatable.”

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